Watchdog refers parties to Garda for failing to disclose donations

People Before Profit Alliance, Socialist Workers Party and Workers Party referred

The Standards in Public Office Commission said yesterday that files had been sent to the gardaí in relation to the People Before Profit Alliance, the Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Party.

All failed to submit the statutory documentation in relation to donations received in 2012 above the declarable threshold.

Richard Boyd Barrett, a TD who is a member of both People Before Profit and the Socialist Workers Party, said an oversight had resulted in the failure to submit the material but both parties had been in contact with the commission over the past few days to remedy the situation.

He said there had also been confusion in relation to an address being used by the party.

"It is not that we have very much to declare. We do not get any corporate donations. I think I am the biggest donor to the party," he said. The total value of donations disclosed by all political parties was €33,605.78. Only one of the big four parties, Sinn Féin, disclosed any donation above the declarable threshold of €126.

Zero returns
Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour all make zero returns – indicating that the parties' fundraising is geared towards raising money through encouraging multiple donations worth €126 or less.

The other parties that disclosed donations in 2012 were the Christian Solidarity Party and the Socialist Party. The Christian Solidarity Party listed seven donations of between €200 and €500 as well as a bequest amounting to €403. They were from Pádraig Ó Corbaigh, Killeshandra, Co Cavan; Joy Rogers, Drumcondra, Dublin; Pat Carroll, Ennistymon, Co Clare; Patsy Brady, Longford; Cogaslann Teo, Dundalk, Co Louth; James Callaghan, Milltown, Dublin; John Twomey, Fermoy, Co Cork; and Gerard Nangle, Clonskeagh, Dublin.

Sinn Féin's only donation came from its Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh, who donated €6,000.

There were four donations totalling €24,000 from Socialist Party members including its TD Joe Higgins and party MEP Paul Murphy. Each was for about €6,000. The other two contributions were made by Jimmy Dignam and Laura Fitzgerald.

Disclose donations
Political parties are required to disclose the donations from the previous year by March 31st on an annual basis. Some 15 political parties were registered in 2012, according to the commission.